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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Longing Heart" Episode 1

2018/01/08 | Permalink

Sin-woo (played by Lee Jung-shin) is a high school teacher. We get a broad panorama of the town where he works, a look at his stroll to class, and finally an introduction to his students. Sin-woo's affectionate and oddly personal appraisals of the students come off as odd, even creepy, until he finally gets to Sin-woo (played by Seo Ji-hoon) who is literally just Sin-woo as a teenager. Yes, that's right, Sin-woo has time slipped back into 2007, and the first episode of "Longing Heart" explains how.

I like how the entire concept of a time slip as a dramatic device is so mainstream now that characters in time slip stories explicitly call them time slip stories when narrating their situation. None of that zombie story nonsense where no one is allowed to call the monsters zombies, because the writer is pretending to be original. Writer Park Ga-yun dares us to call her story unoriginal, because really, who cares? There are no original stories anymore.

Now as to the actual plot of that story...Sin-woo, in the modern day, is having trouble with romance. His friends think Sin-woo is still hung up on Ji-soo (played by Lee Yeol-eum), his high school sweetheart. Sin-woo, at the insistence of his friends, decides to talk to her again. It doesn't go well but hey! Sin-woo's glad he at least tried. I rather like Sin-woo as a protagonist. Sin-woo is a man who knows his own weaknesses and sincerely tries not to let them consume him.

Sin-woo is also completely on top of the time slip storyline. He fits in perfectly. The main big mistake he makes involves making accidental reference to a nickname which he forgot doesn't actually exist yet, but even that he's able to mostly rationalize away thanks to context. Otherwise the main obstacle to Sin-woo's plans involves an embarrassing accident with his sister. I like how even in the face of a storyline that explicitly creepy, Sin-woo is able to keep his cool.

The main focus here is the intersection between Sin-woo, little Sin-woo, and Ji-soo, and how Sin-woo's actions could change the course of their relationship. But there are still plenty of smaller details I'm interested to hear more about- like what exactly the huge incident was that broke Sin-woo and Ji-soo off, and what this had to do with Sin-woo's family. In the meantime the cast is really good, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of them.

Review by William Schwartz

"Longing Heart" is directed by   Min Yeon-hong, written by  Park Ga-yun and features Lee Jung-shinSeo Ji-hoon, Lee Yeol-eum,  and Kim Sun-young-III.

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